Enclave: Testing City for Korean Reunification | M.Arch Thesis

The city is a form which not only reflects, but also builds social relations. The forms of the city and the types of architecture in the city have been used as tools to lead and stimulate societies toward certain utopias. How can the form and architecture of the city be tools through which heterogeneous groups of people can live together despite serious political conflict?

This thesis explores strategies to establish social relations between two heterogeneous societies, North Korea and South Korea, in Kaesong, a jointly run small industrial city. The two countries joined together to build an industrial city near their border to take advantage of the technology and capital of South Korea and the labor force of North Korea. This thesis asks: What is the ideal city form for Kaesong City? What kinds of scenarios will stimulate the polarized people to mingle in Kaesong? What type of architecture will allow the two societies to live together, happily?

Although Korea was a single country for over 5,000 years before the Korean division in 1948, the North Korean and South Korean social structures are now totally different. The shapes of the cities are entirely different, too, reflecting the social structures. However, current Kaesong is a replication of a South Korean typical industrial city.

Despite the ruthless dictatorship of North Korea under the ideology of communism and socialism, the life of North Korean people is changing toward a free capitalist society. This thesis suggests Kaesong as the accelerator of that movement to reduce the economic and cultural gap between the two countries. To do so, this thesis proposes a sequence of urban strategies and architectural types that transform everyday life toward a mixed type of city, instead of a replication of one country.